On Friday, the Chicago Cubs placed five-time Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward on the 10-day injured list, the latest in a flurry of moves that officially marked the end of an era on Chicago’s North Side.
Heyward, despite 2-years and $44 million remaining on his contract, is the latest odd man out in Chicago, although the writing has been on the wall for Hayward for some time now.
The Ricketts family has made it clear that the glory days are over, and the time for change is now.
Despite the sadness being displayed by Cubs fans, this team has done what most teams are unable to do.
In an era where championship aspirations are often characterized by “windows”, the Cubs had arguably the most successful 4-year span in team history.
This stretch included three trips to the NLCS and that glorious year in 2016 that Cubs fans across the world will never forget.
While the bulk of the focus has been placed on core pieces Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez being traded (and rightfully so).
The story of the 2016 curse breakers cannot be told without Heyward and another MLB bro; current St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series to force one final winner take all matchup in Cleveland.
If the longest standing championship drought in modern sports history was going to end, it would end on the grandest stage in all of sports; Game 7.
Fowler and Heyward would both affect this game, but in two completely different ways.
For Fowler, it was shaking off a 4-for-25 series to deliver three huge hits in Game 7, including a leadoff home run.
His homer was the first leadoff home-run in the World Series by a Black player since Yankees Icon Derek Jeter did it 16 years prior against the New York Mets.
Now Dexter may have set the tone to start the game, and after Cleveland battled back to send it to extras, it was the vet Heyward who rallied the proverbial troops.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci’s book The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse gave us a first hand look into how a speech given by Heyward during their late night rain delay changed the course of Cubs history forever.
“We’re the best team in baseball, and we’re the best team in baseball for a reason,” Hayward said. “Now we’re going to show it. We play like the score is nothing-nothing. We’ve got to stay positive and fight for your brothers. Stick together and we’re going to win this game.”
And the rest is history.
Now the teardown may be officially underway at Wrigley, but young bros like Ed Howard and All- Star Futures Game MVP Brennen Davis will certainly expedite the process.
But today, we tip our cap for one final farewell to the bros who helped make history.